click to play

Farewell earthly glory, I bid you adieu,
And all the vain pleasures that earth ever knew;
My soul has in prospect a far greater theme,
Compared with which, thine's a bubble or dream.

Farewell, yea forever, thy pleasures, I find,
Have nought in them real, a sting leave behind;
When these I pursued, remorse, O how keen!
Would pierce my poor soul, as no mortal can pen.

Your vain siren charms can no longer allure,
Nor carnal delights, which my soul does abhor;
I'll turn from your pleasure, so wothless and vain,
And seek for those riches that ever remain.

In Zion are pleasures eternal and sure,
For all who their robes keep unspotted and pure;
My soul does possess them, O this shall be mine, -
A conscience unspotted all others outshines.

abc | midi | pdf
Source: Patterson, D W, 1979, The Shaker Spiritual, Princeton University Press, New Jersey

Patterson wrote:

Elder Henry Blinn included this song in A Sacred Repository of Anthems and Hymns, one of the few Shaker publications to print tunes in letteral notation. Six manuscripts also record the song, one identifying the author is Elder Otis Sawyer of Gloucester. He had the song in 1849, when he was a man of thirty-five. At seven he had been brought from Portland to the Poland Hill Family, an early age for parting from earthly glory. Otis kept, however, one of the World's good tunes, that of "Pretty Saro," and used it for this song. His hymn copies the anapestic meter and rhymed couplets of the original text and even seems a reply to it. Both are songs of strangers far from home, but Elder Otis hardly condoned weeping in lone valleys for Saro's lily-white arms. Instead, he accepted at twenty-six the burdens of the ministry, the youngest person ever to fill that post in Maine. From then until his death in 1884, he served continuously in positions of responsibility, either in the ministry or as a trustee and elder in the Church Family at Gloucester.

Analogue: "Pretty Saro" in Sharp, English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians, ii 10-12.


Browse Titles: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z